Betsy O'Donnell, DESIGNATION Grad and Designer at SingleHopBy: The SwitchUp Team
MEET THE GRADUATION
What did you do before attending DESIGNATION?
Before DESIGNATION I was debating on going to grad school for psychology or pursuing visual art. I made a trip to San Francisco and fell in love with all things design. I was interning for a startup and teaching myself branding and design tools when I applied.
Why did you make the switch into design?
Through college I was constantly torn between art and psychology. When I realized design was art and psychology combined, the sky opened up.
What's your favorite part about design?
It can improve anything. Anything we use or imagine can be improved through design, whether it's a tweak in an app for easier use, or an environmentally-friendly product design that could prevent tons of waste.
How did you choose and decide on attending DESIGNATION specifically?
I did a lot of research. DESIGNATION stood out because they were the only bootcamp whose instructors worked in the field of design, which meant they had real world knowledge.
How did you prepare to start learning at DESIGNATION?
I actually took a little vacation because I knew I would be turning it out every day for ten weeks.
What surprised you about your learning experience?
That the instructors genuinely wanted to see me succeed. They would come up to me all the time and be like, "Hey I found this specifically for you to help you with x", and after I put in the work they would say "hey, would you be interested in this internship" — it was very supportive.
SURVIVING THE EXPERIENCE
What's the best advice you can give to a potential student?
Suck the life out of your bootcamp and throw yourself into the design - or programming - world as soon as you start. You will quickly grow confident.
If you could start over the experience, what would you do differently?
Nothing because I got a great job at the end of it.
Share a failure and success story about your experience.
My one failure was probably my fear of failure. Mistakes are fabulous. Failure is learning in disguise :) A success was speaking to a group. I'm paralyzed by it, but it's essential in design to communicate your ideas well. They had someone come in just to give us practice.
What was your favorite project that you worked on?
My favorite project was CentUp, a startup looking for an app to go with their website. It was my favorite because it gave a real glimpse into what a real job would consist of and how to work as a team.
What kind of job support did you receive?
Luckily I had two instructors that felt like my personal wingmen for landing a job. After I graduated they treated me like I was still in the program. It really put a nice seal on my whole experience.
What are you doing now?
I am working full-time as a designer under the senior designer at SingleHop, a web hosting company in Chicago.
What inspires you?
Collage. Challenging anything typical. Kid's stuff, like toys and cartoons. Things that would never happen in real life.
What do you want to do five years from now?
Five years from now I want to be somewhere warm, and really seasoned in illustrating and photography. There's so much I want to learn it's hard to imagine where that path will take me.
Betsy O'Donnell is a graduate of DESIGNATION and can be reached on twitter @obetsm and you can see more of her work on her website. Also, check out @designationio for their latest updates! You can read more reviews of DESIGNATION on switchup!